Twins first baseman Miguel Sano will face no charges in the Dominican Republic after a lawyer in his hometown last week released a video accusing him of a kidnapping.
The lawyer, Odalis Ramos, posted a video June 16 accusing Sano and three friends of kidnapping Ramos’ client, Raudy Omar Sanchez de la Cruz, beating him and threatening to hang him on May 6.
Sano said he was being blackmailed. He told El Nuevo Diario that Sanchez de la Cruz was involved in a sexual assault of one of Sano’s relatives in San Pedro de Macoris.
A prosecutor heard evidence Thursday and “they found insufficient evidence or otherwise to proceed,” Twins President of Baseball Operations Derek Falvey said. Sano had accused the lawyer of requesting 10 million pesos ($170,000) to drop the accusations.
“We took what Miguel said at his word and then wanted to wait and see what else transpired,” Falvey said, “and ultimately today it matched what he had been telling us.”
The 27-year-old Sano had 34 home runs in 105 games last season and signed a three-year, $30 million contract in the offseason.
He has been cleared to travel back to the United States as players gather next week at Target Field for the Twins’ resumption of training camp on July 1.
With travel restrictions in Latin America, players from the Dominican Republic are expected to come to the United States on charter flights arranged by Major League Baseball.
Fifth free agent signed
The Twins signed their fifth undrafted free agent Thursday by adding Canadian teenager Willy Diaz Vasquez for a $20,000 bonus.
Vasquez, 18, is from Edmonton, Alberta, and played for the Prairie Baseball Academy in Lethbridge, which is 60 miles south of Calgary. He’s a shortstop who could move to the outfield once he begins his professional career.
Born in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic — the hometown of Sano — Vasquez is 5-10 and has played on Team Alberta in the Canadian Games.
The Twins also have signed college pitchers John Stankiewicz of Fordham, Lucas Sweany of Pacific and Zarion Sharpe of UNC-Wilmington and catcher Allante Hall of Pensacola State.
Three of their four draft choices, including first-rounder Aaron Sabato, have signed. Fifth-round pick Kala’i Rosario, a high school outfielder from Hawaii, hasn’t been to the mainland to complete his physical before signing.
• The Twins schedule likely won’t be released until early next week.
• Major league teams will be allowed to schedule three preseason games over the final four days before the July 23 or 24 Opening Day. Falvey said the Twins might not schedule those games, however.
• The 30-player taxi squad won’t play any games, Falvey said, adding St. Paul’s CHS Field could be a site for those extra players to work out and stay ready.
• Starting pitcher Michael Pineda must serve 39 more games in his suspension for using a banned substance but will be among the 60 players in the Twin Cities next week. His suspension will lapse around Labor Day weekend, but with no minor league games to help him prepare, he may be eased in slowly by the Twins.
• The 60 players will be finalized by the end of the week, Falvey said, and a list must be turned in to the league by Sunday afternoon.
• The visa issues that prevented Fernando Romero from attending spring training have not yet been resolved, and the righthanded reliever will not be in camp next week, either.